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10 things in tech you need to know today

Here’s the technology news you need to know today.

1. Apple won a battle in its ongoing legal war against Samsung. An appeals court rejected a previous decision not to ban Samsung devices which infringed on three of Apple’s patents.

A federal court of appeals issued a ruling Thursday that gives Apple a leg up against Samsung in the companies’ long-running smartphone legal competition.

The court ruled in a 2-1 decision that District Judge Lucy H. Koh should have granted Apple an injunction banning Samsung from developing or selling any software using three of Apple’s patented features.

Those features are slide-to-unlock, which takes users to their home screen with a simple gesture; the recognition of phone numbers so users can tap a number and be brought to the dialer or address book; and spelling recommendations.

2. There are more leaked photos of the upcoming BlackBerry phone that runs on Android. It features a slide-out keyboard.


Over the past few months, rumors have suggested that BlackBerry is planning to release a new phone that runs on Android. Now, we’re getting a first look at what the device may actually look like.

New leaked photos published by Android Authority show a BlackBerry-made Android phone with a keyboard that slides out from underneath its screen. Based on what we can see in the photo, it looks like the new BlackBerry phone, which is believed to be codenamed Venice, will run a clean near-stock version of Android.


Here’s a look at the front of the phone. You’ll notice the screen looks slightly curved, and there are speaker grills along the bottom.

3. Spotify’s secret ‘concerts’ feature suggests it may be about to start selling tickets. Spotify has already experimented with pushing pre-sale tickets to the biggest fans of certain artists.

spotify about tab

Spotify is providing a monthly listeners number and a global rank based on those monthly listeners.

In other words, a snapshot of exactly how popular – or otherwise – each artist is on its service.

So, for example, the No.1 artist on this week’s Billboard 200 chart, The Weeknd, has over 24m monthly listens – which puts him ahead of every other artist we’ve come across.

But there’s something even more intriguing going on.

The image you can see above is the screenshot sent to the media by Spotify’s PR to show off its attractive new ‘About’ page.

But look even closer and on the left-hand side you’ll see a never-before-utilised tab called ‘concerts’.

What could these mean? Spotify are tight-lipped, simply saying they test new features internally all the time.

But when you consider that the company is now directly pushing pre-sale tickets to the biggest fans of artists, it gets a whole lot more interesting.

Is Spotify about to become a ticket vendor? Or is this simply a clearer third-party plugin from a company like Songkick?

Keep them eyes peeled.

4. First Round Capital is leading a $100 million funding round in Clover Health. The company brings software into healthcare to deliver a better experience.

lucky clover

Partner Josh Kopelman and First Round are leading a $100 million Series A round in Clover Health, a company that’s until now flown under the radar. Its closest competition is Oscar Health, an insurance company geared at millennials, that attracted money from Google.

It’s a bet on the broken market of health insurance and startup that wants to fix Medicare Advantage, said Kopelman, a partner at First Round.

“We’re a seed stage fund and for the last 10 years we’ve been pretty strongly disciplined toward focusing on seed stage,” Kopelman told Business Insider. “This really is an exception for us, and it required an exceptional company.”

Rather than going after that demographic, Clover is focused on Medicare Advantage, a plan that attracts the elderly and the disabled. Medicare Advantage is a Medicare plan, but can be offered by private companies, like Clover.

5. Spanish startup TypeForm has raised $15 million in funding. It wants to reinvent online forms.


Typeform is looking to reinvent online forms, an area that has barely changed at all since the invention of the web.

In order to do this, the company has raised a $15 million (£9.7m, €13.3m) Series A round from Index Ventures, Point Nine Capital, and Anthony Casalena, CEO of Squarespace, and, most curiously, two Facebook execs: Javier Olivan, VP of growth and Jay Parikh, global head of engineering and infrastructure.


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The Barcelona-based company has received a total of $2.2 million (£1.4m, €1.9m) in funding from two rounds prior to its Series A, making the new cash injection a step up that CEO David Okuniev says will go toward “scaling the team in Barcelona and expanding operations to the US.”


6. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff hit out at Apple for the low number of women that it has on stage. Salesforce has had many women speakers at its Dreamforce conference.

Angela Ahrendts

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who was not part of the last big Apple event.

The whole tech industry is a bit like an awkward geek-boy stereotype. It doesn’t do well with women.

On Thursday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told a room full of IT professionals, mostly women, that the only way the tech industry is going to change is if it becomes a major mandate of every tech CEO.

Salesforce is itself making some unprecedented commitments, from mandating every meeting includes at least 30% women to examining the pay of all 16,000+ employees to ensure 100% equal pay.

Plus, Salesforce makes sure all of its corporate events showcase plenty of women on stage, especially women engineers.   And Benioff is willing to talk publicly about all of it, and to call out other big tech companies.

7. Verizon will offer roaming in Cuba. Visitors previously had to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone to make calls in the country.

amanda cuba havana

Verizon Communications Inc announced on Thursday it would become the first U.S. company to offer roaming wireless service in Cuba next week.

The announcement by the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier follows the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States in July, after a break of 54 years.

The United States has set connectivity as a priority in its new relationship with the Communist-run island.

Verizon will charge $2.99 per minute for voice calls and $2.05 per megabyte for data, making the option an expensive one. Currently, visiting Americans must purchase a pay-as-you-go cell phone through state telephone company Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (ETECSA) to have cellular service on the island, or have a cellphone account in a third country. ETECSA does not offer data.

Boost Mobile, part of Sprint Corp, in April launched a prepaid plan for U.S. consumers calling and texting Cuba. In March, U.S.-based IDT Corp reached an agreement with ETECSA to provide direct international long-distance service. Previously phone communication between the two countries had to pass through third countries.

8. There’s some interesting new data about people who use ad blockers. France had the highest percentage of ad blocker users.

Grim Reaper Halloween costume

Almost everyone in digital media this week was talking about ad blocking after Apple’s latest operating update saw ad blocking on iPhones and iPads allowed for the first time, sending ad blocking apps to the top of the app charts.

Digital publishers are already acutely aware that ad blocking is on the rise. A report published by PageFair and Adobe released last month claimed the number of consumers using ad blocking software worldwide increased 41% year-on-year to 198 million monthly active users.



Of the countries the report looked at, France had the highest incidence of ad blocking. Almost one in 10 internet users in the US block ads.

Ad blocking rates

9. Details of Google’s new Chromecast streaming device have leaked online. It will feature a new “Fast Play” mode.

According to internal documents that 9to5Google has obtained, huge updates to the Chromecast platform are just around the corner. The long-rumored 2nd generation Chromecast hardware is set to debut at Google’s event later this month, packing many new features including feeds for the device’s main screen, improved WiFi, a new feature called “Fast Play,” and more

10. A new Apple Store designed by Jony Ive has opened in Belgium. The store features lots of wood and trees.


Apple’s design chief Jony Ive isn’t just in charge of overseeing how Apple’s products are crafted — he now plays a role in designed the company’s iconic retail stores too.

One of the first Apple Stores to open under Ive’s influence is located in Brussels, Belgium, and local news site from the area just posted a bunch of photos of it.

Although the store generally looks like most of Apple’s other retail locations, there are a few noticeable differences.

The new Ive-designed store includes rows of trees with wooden benches surrounding them.


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